Product Review (September 2006)
ADS Technologies - MiniDigitalTV USB

By Kevin Nakano


It is not uncommon to find built-in tuners in many of the multimedia-rich desktop PCs. After all, the cost of placing tuners in the large desktop machines is fairly inexpensive and easily accommodates the PCI card needed to hold the electronics. On the other hand, tuners in laptops pose a problem due to limited space. ADS Technology has solved the problem with the introduction of their new MiniTV USB tuner. This little device is the size of a fat memory stick and provides a way to tune an analog channel, digitize it and send it over the USB 2.0 interface. The USB devices features a high bandwidth SMB-style coaxial connector that mates to the short antenna cable. On the other end of the antenna cable is the familiar F-connector, commonly used for cable TV or an over-the-air antenna. In our case, we made use of a rooftop antenna since we do not have cable television. While it is possible to use a pair of rabbit ears for reception, it will typically not provide users with the quality picture they might expect. We found this to be the case with virtually every NTSC tuner we have used and the MiniTV USB tuner is no different in this regard.

MediaTV
ADS MediaTV supports television, photographs, music and video all in a single application. The PVR (Personal Video Recorder) allows users to pause live TV and use the PC as a buffer. This feature does require some good processing power and performance may vary. Previously recorded program can be played back much like a standard DVD. TV shows captured from the tuner can be written to Video-CD or DVD media. Music can be ripped from CDs and stored as WMA or MP3 formats. The audio tracks can be grouped to create custom playlists or written back to recordable media. Photos come alive with the slideshow application for which the duration and transition of each photo can be defined by the user. Detailed photo information (time stamp, thumbnail, resolution, file name, and file size) can also be enabled to help the user decide what files to use in the presentation. The information is displayed with larger fonts to help us visually impaired folks. There is even a one-click redeye removal feature with auto enhance and crop capability. The final slideshow can then be burned to a disc for playback in a DVD player. Also included is ArcSoft's MediaConverter software designed to take video content and convert it for playback on an Video iPod or a Sony PlayStation 3.

Conclusion
The MiniTV USB is a great product that adds standard NTSC television capability to any computer, whether it be a laptop or desktop. In our experience a good antenna or cable feed is required for this product to produce a good picture. It is possible to use rabbit ears or a similar setup, but limited reception may hinder picture
quality. What we liked about the MiniTV USB product was the small package and inexpensive price.
The setup was simple and it was easy to install. Video and audio are streamed directly from the external tuner over the high-speed USB 2.0 port so there is no extra cabling needed between the tuner and computer. The Ulead software has many features and the web-based Advanced Programming Guide provided by TitanTV.com makes programming simple and efficient. For under $80, you can have the ability to create time-shifted recordings with full access to the media as it is recording.

- Kevin Nakano




OPPO BDP-103 Blu-ray Player




Review System

Laptop PC - Sony VAIO PCV-K23, 2.8GHz Pentium 4

Review at a glance


ADS Technologies - MiniTV USB

Specifications:

  • Compliant with USB 2.0 specification
  • Software Interface: Microsoft BDA driver
  • Low CPU loading- SSE/3DNow
  • Bus-powered: +5VDC through USB port, 370mA max.
  • 128 channel analog tuner

    System Requirements:

  • Available USB 2.0 Port
  • PC with Pentium 4 2.4 GHz or higher 256 MB RAM
  • Video Card (With Microsoft DirectX 9.0 Support)
  • Sound Card (SoundBlaster 16 Compatible Sound Card)
  • 1GB Free HD Space
  • CD-ROM Drive (For software installation)
  • CD-RW or DVD-Recordable drive required for saving movies onto CD or DVD
  • TV antenna or analog cable connection
  • Microsoft Windows XPindows XP Home or Professional

    Packaging Includes:

  • Mini TV USB
  • USB 2.0 Extension Cable
  • Antenna connector MCX to F-connector
  • CD Containing: Device drivers & Media TV PVR
  • User Manual


    Product Manuals

    PDF Brochure

    Latest driver/software support

    Model: MiniTV USB (PTV-371-EF)
    Source: Manufacture supplied
    MSRP: $79


    Company Information
    ADS Technologies
    12627 Hidden Creek Way
    Cerritos, CA 90703
    Ph: 800-888-5244, 562.926.1928

    Fax: 562.926.0518

    URL: www.adstech.com

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